Shoulder dystocia is a medical condition that usually results from a child’s shoulder becoming stuck on the mother’s pelvic bone as his or her head passes through the birth canal during labor. When this type of complication occurs, the doctor may find it difficult to deliver the baby increasing the overall delivery time. In such cases, the obstetrician may use additional intervening techniques to help speed up the delivery of the baby and prevent further complications. Shoulder dystocia is considered an emergency. It is important that your doctor and medical team work together to prevent complications that are related to shoulder dystocia.
Here are the five important things you should know about shoulder dystocia.
1. Both the mother and child could suffer complications.
According to the March of Dimes, when shoulder dystocia occurs during delivery, both the mother and the child undergo significant distress. The main risk to the baby is lack of oxygen supply when the umbilical cord is compressed between the child’s body and the cervix during contractions. This is why doctors rush to deliver the baby as soon as possible when shoulder dystocia occurs. Babies may also suffer clavicle or humerus fractures.
Erb’s palsy or brachial plexus injury is a frequent outcome of shoulder dystocia. This refers to nerve damage in the shoulder, arm or hand, and may potentially lead to permanent disabilities. Babies in these cases suffer hypoxia, which is linked to a lack of oxygen supply. Here, brain damage may occur leading to conditions such as cerebral palsy. The mother might suffer complications including severe lacerations, postpartum hemorrhage and uterine rupture.
2. There are certain risks for shoulder dystocia.
Some women may be more prone to having babies with shoulder dystocia compared to others. Here are some of the most common shoulder dystocia risks:
• When the mother has diabetes or gestational diabetes. Obese mothers are also at risk.
• The child weighs above average, a condition known as macrosomia.
• When the mother has delivered other children that had shoulder dystocia.
• When labor has to be induced or when the due date has passed.
• Having an operative vaginal birth, which means the obstetrician uses birth-assistive tools such as forceps or a vacuum device to guide the baby through the birth canal.
• When the mother is pregnant with multiple babies.
3. Shoulder dystocia may be preventable.
Your doctor should accurately assess your risk factors in order to determine your likelihood of having a child with shoulder dystocia. For example, if your child is much larger than average, it might be best to schedule a Cesarean section or C-section where the child is surgically removed. It is possible for doctors to anticipate whether shoulder dystocia can happen with diligent prenatal and fetal monitoring.
4. Shoulder dystocia is a condition that leads to other birth injuries such as Erb’s palsy.
Shoulder dystocia in itself is not a birth injury. However, when a doctor attempts to pull a child that is stuck on the mother’s pelvic area, he or she may cause injuries such as brachial plexus injury, broken bones or even facial injuries. Some of the signs that your child may have been affected by shoulder dystocia include nerve damage and pain in the injured area, a claw-like hand appearance and paralysis of the affected limb, etc.
5. You can seek compensation for your losses.
Dealing with the long-term complications of Erb’s palsy might be challenging both, emotionally and financially. Therapy costs for individuals with this condition can add up very quickly. If your child has suffered an arm injury at birth or has been diagnosed with Erb’s palsy as a result of medical negligence, you may be able to file a birth injury lawsuit seeking compensation for damages including, but not limited to, medical expenses, lost income and benefits, loss of livelihood, hospital and rehabilitation costs, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
The experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you. One of our clients secured a $2,850,000 verdict that was reduced by the appeals court to $1,846,000 because the verdict was so large. This was the highest amount upheld by the appellate courts for many, many years. In addition we recovered $1,400,000 for a newborn who lost motion in the arm during birth due to doctors applying incorrect force on the baby’s head.
We have seen many cases where New York City Health and Hospital Corporation hospitals deliver babies who are born with cerebral palsy or erb’s palsy stemming from negligence and/or medical malpractice in the labor and delivery etc. of the children. The following list identifies some of these hospitals (operated by New York City Health and Hospital Corporation):
• Jacobi Hospital aka Bronx Municipal 1400 Pelham Parkway South Bronx, New York 10461 718-918-5000
• Lincoln Hospital 234 East 149th Street Bronx, New York 10451 718-579-5000
• North Central Bronx Hospital 3424 Kossuth Avenue Bronx, New York 10467 718-519-5000
• Coney Island Hospital 2601 Ocean Parkway Brooklyn, New York 11235 718-616-3000
• Kings County Hospital 451 Clarkson Avenue Brooklyn, New York 11203 718-245-3131 BIGGEST HOSPITAL IN THE WORLD
• Woodhull Hospital 760 Broadway Brooklyn, New York 11206 718-963-8000
• Bellevue Hospital 462 First Avenue New York, New York 10016 212-562-5555
• Harlem Hospital 506 Lenox Avenue New York, New York 10037 212-939-1000
• Metropolitan Hospital 1901 First Avenue New York, New York 10029 212-423-6262
• Elmhurst Hospital 79-01 Broadway Elmhurst, New York 11373 718-334-4000
• Queens Hospital Center 82-68 164th Street Jamaica, New York 11432 718-883-3000
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
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